FIRE your Glutes, NAIL your Handstand!
Why even though you’re stretching daily you aren’t experiencing any progress?
Unfortunately, muscles don’t act independently.
What that means is if one muscle in the chain is weak, tight, or not firing on all cylinders, your entire body isn’t firing on all cylinders. As we often say in class, handstands are cool but they don't happen in isolation. If you’re really interested in anything hand balancing, it’s in your best interest to invest time in learning how your body works.
Then instead of guessing every time you want to learn something new, you can simply tweak the knobs and turn the screws a bit and you’re set because you’ll know exactly what you need.
For example, tight hamstrings aren’t a condition as much as they are a symptom of something else not quite right. Something a lot of people don’t take into consideration. You could be stretching your hamstrings daily but if hip flexors are tight (or weak) you’ll feel like you are never making any progress.
Or, let’s talk about your butt as another example, if your glutes are weak, your hamstrings are going to be perpetually tight and, like above, even if you’re stretching them daily!
Because if any part of your hip is weak, your leg muscles will take over the role of anything that requires hip flexion. And that’s a lot of things!
Which is why: weak glutes + running = TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT hamstrings
And in that scenario, even if you’re stretching your hamstrings daily, you might find some temporary relief but never any long-term permanent progress.
The answer in this case is strengthening the glutes.
So that’s why even doing some simple balancing poses on one leg can effectively open your hamstrings.Then coupling that with a strategic series of direct hamstring stretches will provide lasting, permanent results. And that’s also why strengthening the glutes can be a very powerful strategy for greatly improving your road map to nailing handstands, but only under certain conditions.
Action Items for Today:
#1 Determine if your glutes are weak.
Do this simple test: Stand in front of wall and perform a simple squat. You don’t have to go down very low, just to about chair’s height. If you can do this without your knees going forward and banging into the wall you’re good to go. If your knees bang into the wall the movement is coming from your leg muscles rather than your glutes.
If you have any specific questions about this exercise or your glutes, ask us after class!
This could be a potential source for knee problems and hamstring tightness. If that’s you, this is your gameplan:
Strengthen your glutes -> Stretch your hamstrings -> Nail your handstand :-)